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Fiocruz promotes activities for the World Chagas Disease Day


Ana Paula Blower (Fiocruz News Agency)


For the World Chagas Disease Day, celebrated on April 14, Fiocruz organized a series of activities last week. Among the actions are two online events with lectures and debates about the challenges and possibilities to fight the disease. Last Monday, on one of these occasions, the theme series Memorias of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute was launched, with 15 reflection papers by authors from all over the world and from different areas of knowledge.

Fiocruz Mourisco Castle receives special lighting in allusion to World Chagas Day (photo: Peter Ilicciev)

It is estimated that Chagas disease affects from 6 to 7 million people worldwide. Surveillance is still one of the main challenges, as from this total about 90% are unaware of their diagnosis. This is why the theme of the Ministry of Health’s campaign for 2022 is How many and where we are, to incentivize notification and surveillance so that more effective actions to control the infection can be taken.

On April 18, Fiocruz hosted the event Reflections and challenges for the future, when its president, Nísia Trindade Lima, participated in the opening table. “Since the World Chagas Disease Day was created, its reference has always been the relationship with affected people. Today’s meeting combines the scientific knowledge disseminated by Memories of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute and the entire process of the chain of knowledge, from basic research to implementation, and it focuses on the people affected by a neglected disease. This is about thinking more about neglected people and less on the disease itself”, she said.

In her statement, Lima commented the lectures by directors of Fiocruz units and by the ministry of health, Marcelo Queiroga. “It was a true lesson, thinking about the pioneer men and women who have built this story of milestones achieved as well as of insufficiencies. All this precious scientific knowledge was not capable of letting us overcome a situation of having the disease not as a beautiful page of achievements, but as a problem that is still ongoing, with 7 million people affected all over the world, of which 4 million are in Brazil. On behalf of Fiocruz’s tradition in research, we, as an institution focused on science and technology, are committed to helping overcome this situation. And this is what we are attempting to do: from research to the development of diagnostic methods, a search for new treatments, something that can reduce the impact of the diasease on affected people”.

Thematic series

At last Monday’s event, participants mobilized around the launching of the thematic series Memories of the IOC, which marks the 113 years of the discovery of Chagas disease. In 1909, at the first edition of the Memorias, Carlos Chagas documented his discovery.

According to one of the editors of the theme series, the person in charge of the Program for Control of Chagas Disease, from the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), Pedro Albajar-Vinãs, the next step is to translate the papers into “different languages and idioms, so they can be shared with all those afected and all those who are actively working in the attempt to know how many and where are the people directly and indirectly affected by Chagas disease all over the world”.

He explained that the idea for the papers came up during the creation of the WHO guidelines for the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases. “The papers address various aspects, going beyond the mere biomedical or biological aspects. Our intention was to address the need to place on equal terms the different medical, biological, anthropological, and social disciplines”, says Albajar-Vinãs. “If we are unable to see the complexity of this challenge, we will be unable to propose efficient solutions”.

Presentation of projects and other activities

On April 13, Fiocruz integrated the event Chagas diseae today: How many and where are we? promoted by the Ministry of Health. At the time, Fiocruz representatives presented two of their projects sponsored by the Ministry, with the goal of helping erradicate Chagas disease. IntegraChagas, coordinated by the National Infectology Institute (INI/Fiocruz), aims to expand the offer of diagnosis and treatment in primary healthcare. CUIDA Chagas an international initiative that brings together government institutions, communities, and civil societies in four countries (Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Paraguay), focuses on controlling mother-child transmission. In Brazil, the project is also coordinated by INI/Fiocruz.

Last Wednesday (April 14) was also the launching day of Kardex - Repository of Information on the Capture of Triatomines by the Program for the Control of Chagas Disease. The event promoted the lecture Necessity for a multidisciplinary approach in the control of Chagas disease - lessons leanred in Brazil, with Israel Molina, visiting researcher of Fiocruz Minas. The event was broadcast online.

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